Soap and water is the preferred method of hand cleansing, but when not accessible, Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers (ABHS), are effective in reducing illness transmission. In 2009, the NYS Education Department released a memo allowing their use in schools.
A recent CDC study showed improper use however, can be associated with health risks due to the high alcohol content. Of particular concern was Intentional ingestion among youths ages 6 -12. The full CDC report is on the CDC website.
It is important that caregivers and health care providers educate parents and students on the on safe use of these products and provide appropriate supervision. NYSCSH has a ‘Hand Sanitizer” page on our website, which can provide education resources.
Specific resources are also available for school medical directors on selection, storage, handling, and use in the school setting. They are available to medical directors on our website on the Medical Directors page here.